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What the Pandemic Taught Us about Stillness

In the early days of the lockdown, I remember noticing how quiet the world had become.  Less traffic when I drove, less traffic noise on the streets outside my home, fewer sounds of people going by on the sidewalks because everyone separated as they drew near.  Across...

What the Pandemic Taught Us about Repentance

Many spiritual traditions include stories of natural disasters or unusual and overwhelming natural events as interventions by God to challenge humanity’s present ways of proceeding and call all to repentance. In such stories, repentance is less about being sorry for...

What the Pandemic Taught Us About Death

  Another insight we may eventually discover from our experience of the pandemic will come from the incomprehensible numbers of deaths, staggering figures of lives lost despite the care many of us took to follow safety guidelines, to wear masks and wash hands and...

What The Pandemic Taught Us About Bodies

With the race to be vaccinated underway, with many celebrating being able to resume a semblance of normality, with churches discussing how to reopen safely, we can perhaps begin to contemplate what the meaning of our pandemic experience has been, recognizing that such...

On Being a Word

Trappist monk Thomas Merton suggested that each of us is a particular word spoken by God, bringing a particular communication to the world as we live into that word through our lives.  What is the word you are living?  I have sometimes posed the question to my...

Living after Resurrection

A favorite poem of mine by Wendell Berry, “The Mad Farmer Manifesto,” describes what life looks like in the wake of the overwhelming events of Easter and its story of resurrection. Berry imagines how we would act differently if we truly believed in resurrection, truly...

Springtime Changes

These weeks in April usher in the major religious holidays of Passover and Easter, when the Jewish tradition marks its central experience of liberation from slavery and the ensuing journey to the Promised Land, and the Christian tradition marks its central experience...

Something Other Than Chocolate

The season of Lent is underway in traditional churches, along with the tired jokes about doing without chocolate and other small excesses for the next six weeks. While giving up something can always be a useful exercise at any time, helping me see where my attachments...

Living Without Shelter

One of my Christmas gifts from a friend was a copy of Barbara Kingsolver's newest novel Unsheltered.  Since finishing it, I find myself thinking quite a lot about a primary theme in the novel, a theme given expression in debates among the characters and in settings...

Spiritual Fear

More than one commentator has noted how we seem to have entered a time of not only greater fear, but a different response to fear than has usually been present. History presents us with national leaders who urged people to be brave in confronting fear, to refuse to...